The first step to providing great service that matches your values is ensuring that your team are sold on your company’s mission and values. Employees that only represent company values superficially aren’t able to deliver service that honestly matches your vision and values. Recruiting employees that share your values is important, but the best way to keep your vision alive is through a strong internal communications system. A dedicated internal communications strategy and channel will help you to deliver your messaging to your employees and gives you access to feedback from your employees so you can build a stronger, more productive workforce.
Every good marketing campaign starts with a solid strategy, and this is no different. You need to know what you’re communicating, why and to whom. You want to get your employees on board and aligned with your business goals. Writing a strategy will allow you to make sure that all your internal communications speak with a consistent tone of voice and gives each member of staff a clear idea of the company’s goals and their place in achieving them. Internal and external communications need to work in tandem to deliver that consistent voice – don’t report internally that everything is fine if everyone can read in the news that it’s not.
Once you have an idea of your goals you can start making the choices that will enable you to reach them. For example, choosing which communication channels you use will impact the effectiveness of the message. Look at what you need in order to deliver your message and see what fits within your budget. It’s important that you reach every employee, whether they are in the office every day, entirely remote, or in a different country.
Whilst you’re planning, consider how you will measure the success of your communications. Metrics and feedback are powerful tools to help you refine your message to increase its efficacy. It is vitally important to listen and respond to feedback as it builds trust and demonstrates the importance of the message you send, and that value the opinions of those who give it to you.
Ask for and respond to feedback
As established in your strategy, feedback is vital to the success of your messaging.
Encouraging feedback is important for two major reasons. First, employees who respond to internal communications will feel a greater sense of community and engagement with company goals. Your admin staff may be able to suggest process changes that make your fee earners more efficient, saving the business time and money. Without giving them an avenue to respond to company-wide goals, you might never know.
Secondly, feedback is key to knowing if your messaging is having its desired results. Gathering data on how your staff are receiving your communications, and then analysing it, will give you key insight into how they are feeling about the business and its goals. You’ll be able to see if the message is being read or if it’s reaching everyone in time to be relevant. Then you can adjust and improve your strategy. This information can also be fed to your senior team to help them support staff.
There are a lot of ways to gather feedback ranging from technological solutions to simply just asking your staff what they think. If you’re sending an email newsletter you can set it up so that employees can reply to it, or if you are using software such as Slack, you can have a channel set up just for comments. It doesn’t have to be complicated – you could even leave a whiteboard in an office common area. Just make sure that the method you choose is available to all staff.
We can all think of an advert that’s detracting from a brand because it’s become annoying. Obviously, you don’t want that to happen with your internal communications, but achieving the right balance is complex.
Everyone is different, so you can’t assume that your staff will read your internal communications in the same way that you do. You want to avoid overwhelming your staff and wasting your time by repeating yourself. You also don’t want to send senior-level communications to your entry-level staff. They might well assume that the communications aren’t meant for them, and they simply not read the next one.
In order to see that your message is received and understood by everyone, consider sharing it in different ways. For example, an email newsletter with a broader message that goes to everyone, and a video on the company’s intranet with information pertinent to specific departments.
Striking the balance can be hard but a good place to start is understanding that less is more. The company’s broader messages (goals, CSR, and culture) are more important to communicate than everyday matters.
Build a community
The greatest power of internal communication strategies is that they help pull a workforce together into a community. They then support each other as they work towards the business’s overall goals. You will likely find that you aren’t short of content (especially if you are practising less is more!), but here are some ideas that you can use to start bringing your team together:
- Use it as an opportunity to recognise good work or personal milestones, such as birthdays and work anniversaries.
- Don’t shy away from bad news. Discuss shared difficulties and encourage feedback so that everyone can use it as an opportunity to learn.
- Share the stories of how employees have shaped things like best practices, policies and innovations. The whole team can then celebrate their achievements and learn how these things were accomplished.
Encourage input from all departments. Gather stories from across your whole organisation. Good leadership is built on communication so this can be a good exercise as part of your senior team’s career development.
No time like the present
The best time to start on your internal communications strategy and implementation is now, but getting it right is a time-consuming process. You can cut straight to the chase with expert support from Consortium. We analyse businesses and write internal communication strategies that reach employees from the start. Get in touch today to see how we can help you!